A South Carolina assistant principal resigned his position this week after a controversy broke over some of his Facebook posts, with hundreds of people signing a petition asking for his termination. The man, Charles Fowler, posted a picture to his Facebook page of a six-year-old girl shopping in a Wal-Mart with the caption “Honey Boo-Boo in Wal-Mart.” The girl is a kindergartener in the same school district as Fowler’s employer, Walhalla High School.
“(He) just picked her out in Wal-Mart and then wants to ridicule her and call her Honey Boo-Boo just because she’s overweight. She’s got health problems. I take her to the doctor for that,” said Elaine Thompson, the girl’s great-grandmother. “He has devastated my family. He has embarrassed us.”
Posting online can often feel like it doesn’t have consequences; obviously, the man wouldn’t have said what he wrote on his Facebook page to the girl’s face. But, despite this feeling of anonymity, poorly-worded social media posts can be exceedingly harmful to a person’s career, particularly someone with a public profession.
If you’re going to make off-color jokes on your Facebook page, it’s a good idea to check your privacy settings and make sure only the people you want seeing your content can find it. Of course, it’s smart to keep potentially risky posts off the Internet all together if you can help it, particularly the ones that have any chance at all of coming back to bite you.